Holiday Raffles Warning: Ensure You Have a Permit or Face Hefty Fines, Says Lotteries Committee
Whether you are running an organization, a business for profit or non-profit, or just a regular citizen, if you plan to hold a raffle this holiday season, be aware that you will need a permit. Without a permit, you could face a fine of up to three thousand dollars. Yesterday, the Lotteries Committee issued a release reminding the public that it’s illegal to hold raffles above ten dollars without a license or a letter of authorization. It’s a law that dates to the fifties that, while heavily flouted, the committee is now looking to enforce. Lewin Samuels, Secretary of the Lotteries Committee, says the move seeks to protect the rights of consumers.
Lewin Samuels, Lotteries Committee: “The legislation for raffles have been there. Let us go back to identify what is the definition of a lottery. A lottery means any scheme for distributing prices by lot or chance, but does not include raffles under the value of $10. For $10 and more you are completely exempt. Anything over that, you want to have a raffle by way of promotion, by way of business, you must be registered with the Lotteries Committee. So basically the press release is only to sensitize the promoters and the consumers that to conduct a raffle you need to be regularized by the Lotteries Committee one for consumer awareness and consumer protection. This includes businesses, and we could name a few of them that are conducting raffles at this moment it’s all in cheer of the Christmas season. And also we have the small man on the street who want to do raffle at turkey, a case of beer, it’s all a matter of registering your activity. Many times we get feedback where people have reported that they had won a raffle, but there’s no means and way of them to collect. They don’t know the person. They don’t know a name nor an ID. The committee cannot solve that issue because that person has not been registered. It’s not a matter of taxation is a matter of regularizing your activity.”
Samuels further explained that based on the purpose of the raffle, persons are often exempted from paying fees.
Lewin Samuels, Lotteries Committee: “For some reason this year it seems to gravitate a lot of attention and therefore we are here at this junction where people are believing that the Lotteries Committee is coming down hard on them, the government is going after more taxes but no, the laws have been there from ever since, it’s only a small portion that is being subject to taxation, a mere 5% and all these taxes that it’s collecting goes towards the Consolidated Revenue Fund in aid of charitable outreaches, elderly, Red Cross and all these organizations that are being supported through the government charitable fund. We are asking them to call to submit their letters and for the most part, like I said, schools, religious bodies, NGOs, any person who is doing a raffle for the family member that is sick and so forth all these come as license approved but free of cost. Other than that your up your Item being raffle is more than $10 there is a small fee to go with that application. And how good would it feel that when you find out if the law will run up on you you’re conducting raffles “Sir, do you have an authority to do that raffle?” It’s not only for a small amount but also the businesses they do conduct raffle and it’s sometimes it slips them to apply for the for the license and they would end up applying but not with any objection.”
Persons wanting to conduct raffles can write to the Lotteries Committee.